Monday, February 27, 2012
MACON, Ga. - 2012 has been a season full of great team achievements and outstanding individual performances which continue to showcase the institutions and the outstanding student-athletes of the Atlantic Sun Conference. As attention zeroes in on the General Shale Brick Championship, the A-Sun is proud to recognize the top individual achievers of the season as voted on by the conference’s coaches.
USC Upstate’s Torrey Craig put together one of the finest seasons in recent years to be named the league’s Player of the Year. The sophomore led the conference in scoring and finished second in rebounding while leading the Spartans to their best finish since joining the A-Sun. Craig’s put-back at the buzzer against Belmont and eight three-pointers versus Florida Gulf Coast were two of his most notable moments.
Ian Clark was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Drawing the assignment of defending the opposition’s top perimeter player for a team that plays almost exclusively man-to-man defense, the junior shined. Against Craig just two weeks ago, Clark helped limit the Player of the Year to just eight points on 2-for-8 shooting and in two games versus UNF’s Parker Smith, Clark held him to just half his scoring average.
USC Upstate claimed stake to the Freshman of the Year award as well as guard Ty Greene separated himself from the pack in one of the most hotly contested races for individual honors. The Knoxville, Tennessee native picked up the pace in the conference portion of the schedule, boosting his scoring average to nearly 12 points per game. Greene drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer in a road game at Lipscomb to help lift the Spartans to their best season in Division I.
USC Upstate nearly swept the A-Sun’s top individual honors as veteran head coach Eddie Payne earned Coach of the Year accolades. The Spartans own one of the NCAA’s top turnarounds of the year and are one of just three A-Sun teams to reach the 20-win plateau this season. Payne collected his 400th career win in the regular season finale versus Stetson.
Craig and Clark headline the six-person All-Atlantic Sun first team.
Belmont’s Kerron Johnson continues the line of game-changing point guards leading the Bruins attack. The southpaw led the league champs in scoring for the season and his 15 points in the season-opener at Duke put the league on notice of his offensive growth.
Drew Hanlen shared point guard duties with Johnson and was the league’s top three-point shooter, knocking down over 48 percent of his attempts. Hanlen really shined in the Battle of the Boulevard game at Lipscomb, draining seven three-pointers on his way to a career-high 21 points.
The point guard heavy first team continues with Mercer’s Langston Hall. Hall led the Bears in scoring and logged nearly 35 minutes per game for the league’s second place team. The sophomore showed his mastery of the intricate offense run by the Bears, dishing out nearly four assists per game.
The final member of the first team is another point guard, Adam Sollazo of East Tennessee State. The 6-6 Florida native created match-up problems for the opposition on a nightly basis. Sollazo led the Bucs in scoring, assists and minutes in his senior season.